My town is flooded, people have opinions

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AWvsCBsteeeerike3
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by AWvsCBsteeeerike3 »

https://wqad.com/2019/05/03/hesco-basti ... e-barrier/

Despite what Hesco is saying, that looks exactly like a structural failure. The road didn't undermine, give me a break, the water comes in for hundreds of yards. And, the water didn't overtop until the wall was halfway collapsed. Notice the guy running when he heard something snap? Maybe it was installed incorrectly, I don't know. But it obviously failed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0l3RHhDVYGg
Gashouse
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by Gashouse »

IMADreamer wrote:
I think climate change is a huge part of it. I think the piss poor management of the river by the corp of engineers is another. They refuse to dredge the river and the river is filling up because of it. Thirdly it's development. Think of 1993, Chesterfield Valley was farm ground. This story is true up and down the river. Now it's miles and miles of asphalt and concrete. Farm ground retained a lot of water, it soaked in and plants used it up. Now it all runs off into the river. It's a huge problem.
I definitely agree development plays a role in flooding. speaking about the areas I know in Minnesota, we are pretty good at making new development and redevelopment be stored on site to reduce peak flows, but the total volume of runoff still increases even if it's stretched across days/weeks. that definitely contributes to more flooding.

Dreamer - I'm also curious about your opinion about drain tile. some work I've done in more rural counties surrounding the Twin Cities have been with some issues that seem to be at least partially caused by unregulated use of drain tile in farm fields. Farm fields certainly won't have a peak runoff rate that's high, but the drain tile can help the overall field drain more quickly and completely - which can increase the total volume of water reach downstream water bodies. For example, the Minnesota River has been at a high flood level for about 6-8 weeks, and it drains the rural areas of western MN. I'm curious if the flood level would be lower on the MN River, and therefore, less water impacting you all downstream, if less drain tile were in place.
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IMADreamer
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by IMADreamer »

Gashouse wrote:
IMADreamer wrote:
I think climate change is a huge part of it. I think the piss poor management of the river by the corp of engineers is another. They refuse to dredge the river and the river is filling up because of it. Thirdly it's development. Think of 1993, Chesterfield Valley was farm ground. This story is true up and down the river. Now it's miles and miles of asphalt and concrete. Farm ground retained a lot of water, it soaked in and plants used it up. Now it all runs off into the river. It's a huge problem.
I definitely agree development plays a role in flooding. speaking about the areas I know in Minnesota, we are pretty good at making new development and redevelopment be stored on site to reduce peak flows, but the total volume of runoff still increases even if it's stretched across days/weeks. that definitely contributes to more flooding.

Dreamer - I'm also curious about your opinion about drain tile. some work I've done in more rural counties surrounding the Twin Cities have been with some issues that seem to be at least partially caused by unregulated use of drain tile in farm fields. Farm fields certainly won't have a peak runoff rate that's high, but the drain tile can help the overall field drain more quickly and completely - which can increase the total volume of water reach downstream water bodies. For example, the Minnesota River has been at a high flood level for about 6-8 weeks, and it drains the rural areas of western MN. I'm curious if the flood level would be lower on the MN River, and therefore, less water impacting you all downstream, if less drain tile were in place.

I don't know the answer to that but it's an interesting thought. I do know field tile helps cut down erosion of top soil so there is that benefit. However I could definitely see it increasing water run off as well. Although generally the soil has to be saturated anyway before the field tile starts running.
tlombard
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by tlombard »

I don't know what a drain tile is or much about flood control but I do know that what one area does to keep water out of their community does have an impact on the areas downstream. The water has to go somewhere so any time a new development is built on an area that used to flood, all of the water that is kept out of that area is going to end up somewhere else.

I think our issues are most likely a combination of new development and subsequent efforts to raise/strengthen levees in response to increased development upstream and everything just snowballs and it turns into an extremely complicated issue especially when there are so many moving parts where a development and flood control plan for area X is underway while at the same time there are similar efforts in area Y downstream which are taking in historical and recent flood data but not able to account for all of the development and changes going on with regards to flood control up stream.

I don't disagree that the CofE has done a poor job managing the rivers but I also appreciate what an immensely challenging proposition the job is with the variables constantly being changed by new construction, new flood control measures and a changing climate up across thousands and thousands of miles of rivers and streams.
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by Freed Roger »

1st world problem, but my entertainment hobby stuff involving river paddling and bike and running paths have been altered by floods. Last 3 trail races had to re-route, and/or postpone. Was going to float current river last weekend. But was shut down. Then trails to run, or bike with a beer at river bar afterward, hard to tell what is open, so I take a pass. Nice day Sunday was thinking of Alton Grafton, too, but skipped. The sweep of trash in and along the rivers has me in no hurry to get out amongst it. upstream meramec should be good soon, it flushes out.

There isn't a ton of rec/travel related to MO waterways, at least not nearly as much as there should be, but this does have a real economic effect. A shortened season and damages will knock places out of business. Somewhere I have a photo of place on Big Piney River (Boiling Springs Resort) brand new building on substantial piers was destroyed a few years ago.
Trickles down to outfitters too, like Alpine Shop, instead of selling gear to people that actually MTB, paddle, hike along rivers etc they only sell apparral to people that want to look like they do.
Gashouse
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by Gashouse »

I see lots of criticism about the Corps mismanaging the river system. People like to complain that the Corps putting an emphasis on one thing means they are screwing something else up (like claims that restoring a riverine ecosystem increases flooding elsewhere). For this spring, people like to blame the Corps for them getting flooded - even if they have their homes in the floodplain. I can say that I know the Corps works hard to get things right. If there is a problem, it's that they are trying to manage the river at all. Rivers are powerful dynamic systems and any attempt to manage them that alters their natural state will have impacts elsewhere. If someone depends on the river being "managed" then they will be disappointed eventually. The Corps isn't perfect, but I don't think they deserve a lot of the blame that is pointed their way.

I think this picture sums up my thoughts pretty well.

Image
Freed Roger
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by Freed Roger »

Gashouse wrote:I see lots of criticism about the Corps mismanaging the river system. People like to complain that the Corps putting an emphasis on one thing means they are screwing something else up (like claims that restoring a riverine ecosystem increases flooding elsewhere). For this spring, people like to blame the Corps for them getting flooded - even if they have their homes in the floodplain. I can say that I know the Corps works hard to get things right. If there is a problem, it's that they are trying to manage the river at all. Rivers are powerful dynamic systems and any attempt to manage them that alters their natural state will have impacts elsewhere. If someone depends on the river being "managed" then they will be disappointed eventually. The Corps isn't perfect, but I don't think they deserve a lot of the blame that is pointed their way.

I think this picture sums up my thoughts pretty well.

Image
++
tlombard
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by tlombard »

I think that's pretty much what I was getting at in my post but said, and shown especially, with far fewer words. And better. The main reason I said I don't disagree with those that say the Corps does a poor job is because I have no idea if they do because I don't pay attention to every decision or what the reasoning is behind the vast majority of the decisions are since I don't live in a flood plain and it doesn't impact me directly. Obviously that doesn't make my ignorance acceptable but it is the truth. I'm just definitely not qualified to make any final judgments and appreciate the information I get from you guys here.

There are just so many moving parts with regards to river and flood management that it is probably impossible to get it right enough to satisfy a majority of those who live along rivers that there are times where part of me just wants to say, OK. It's every man for himself now. You go ahead and build a levee that you think is high enough but don't complain to me when your neighbor up river builds one higher which causes levels to raise enough to top your levee.

I seem to remember complaints (and maybe even lawsuits) awhile back between communities in states on opposite sides of rivers because one side built their levee higher and then the community on the other side built theirs even higher with one (or both) being over the legal height limit so it was a case of each side saying that they have to build higher than the legally allowed limits or else the levee on the other side is going to cause them to be flooded.
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by Gashouse »

Fortunately, the tools engineers have to work with now are better than they were in the past. We have a better ability to complete large scale 2D and 3D hydraulic modeling than we used to, so its easier to analyze the upstream and downstream impacts than it used to be (so we can be wrong with a lot more confidence!!). For instance, the Fargo ND Diversion project undergone lots of revisions as the Corps, Minnesota,and North Dakota provide input. Overall, the project will be much better than it would have been even 20 years ago because the means to model and analyze are much better. It's still trying to manage a system, so there will be impacts; however, they've likely done a better job of avoiding adverse impacts than would have been done in the past. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of past projects out there.
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IMADreamer
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Re: My town is flooded, people have opinions

Post by IMADreamer »

tlombard wrote:I think that's pretty much what I was getting at in my post but said, and shown especially, with far fewer words. And better. The main reason I said I don't disagree with those that say the Corps does a poor job is because I have no idea if they do because I don't pay attention to every decision or what the reasoning is behind the vast majority of the decisions are since I don't live in a flood plain and it doesn't impact me directly. Obviously that doesn't make my ignorance acceptable but it is the truth. I'm just definitely not qualified to make any final judgments and appreciate the information I get from you guys here.

There are just so many moving parts with regards to river and flood management that it is probably impossible to get it right enough to satisfy a majority of those who live along rivers that there are times where part of me just wants to say, OK. It's every man for himself now. You go ahead and build a levee that you think is high enough but don't complain to me when your neighbor up river builds one higher which causes levels to raise enough to top your levee.

I seem to remember complaints (and maybe even lawsuits) awhile back between communities in states on opposite sides of rivers because one side built their levee higher and then the community on the other side built theirs even higher with one (or both) being over the legal height limit so it was a case of each side saying that they have to build higher than the legally allowed limits or else the levee on the other side is going to cause them to be flooded.

That was us! lol There were some Missouri communities that were trying to sue our drainage district claiming we illegally raised our levee, which is not true. So the corp came in and surveyed everything and found out that indeed our levee was the height it's supposed to be.

Where the corp has failed us is allowing us to strengthen our levee. I've probably mentioned this elsewhere but after 93 there were a lot of proposals to make sure we didn't get flooded again. One was to move the levee back 100 yards. Farmers all along the river in our district were willing to donate the ground and build the new levee. I don't remember the specific numbers but 100 yards would have resulted in a several foot decrease in the river crest. The second plan was to widen the levee making it stronger and less susceptible to boils and undercutting failure. Again the corp was like "nah." The corp is also letting the river fill up with silt. They used to dredge it regularly, we liked it because it kept the river lower and barge companies liked it because they had less damage due to hitting stuff under the water because the channel was deeper and the river was cleaner. Sometime in the last decade or so the corp has significantly cut dredging. Again our district stepped up and said we would glad buy our own dredge to keep our stretch clean, but again they said no.

When you think of the millions of dollars in production our district lost in 1993 (110,000 acres of ground) all of those flood fighting measures would be cheaper than another catastrophic flood.
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